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PM Believer: Project: We Have A Problem

I am a believer in the power of project management.

As a professional project manager for nearly twenty years I have witnessed project success drive business results. I have also proven that project management can change lives and help achieve personal transformation. Now I am sharing some practical tips and techniques that you can use to help achieve your own personal goals, live your best life and become a PM Believer.

Project: We Have A Problem

In Risky Business, I said that “nearly all problems that you encounter are something that you could have predicted and planned for well in advance.” Unfortunately, sometimes stuff happens and despite our best efforts, there will be problems in every project.

Your personal goal projects are no exception; you are going to encounter issues. Your ability to react to these issues will keep them from derailing your progress. I recommend a 5-step process: identify, prioritize, forgive, fix, prevent.


The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. You can only solve what you know about. Some issues are obvious, like an injury blocking your training for that marathon. But other issues aren’t so obvious and measuring progress daily (see Are We There Yet) can be an early warning of emerging issues.


Once you identify an issue, work quickly to respond. Start by determining the priority of the issue. Is it preventing progress or a “blocking” issue? Is it just a minor annoyance? Not all issues have to be solved immediately and some not at all.


Next is a step that may seem a little unusual: forgive.

Most of us have been in a position where we call out a problem at work and get beat up; this is not a helpful response. This is especially troubling when the person beating us up is that voice in our head.

Issues are a sign of progress and that we are trying something new. Accept and forgive the issue. Negative self-talk will not help you get back on track.


Next up is troubleshooting: what is the root cause of the issue. 

That injury that you encountered during your training, was it because of bad form, over-use, a medical problem or a sign that it is time to replace your shoes? Sometimes the root cause of the issue will surprise you.

Pro Tip

When working to identify the root cause of your issue, the “5 Whys” exercise is helpful. This exercise is a tool to get beyond the symptoms and to the root problem. Learn more about how to use 5 Whys in this 2-minute video. 

Once you have identified the root cause, the (almost) final step is to correct it. The required fix can vary greatly. 

  • Something very easy: buy new shoes. 
  • Something harder: take two weeks off from training. 
  • Something terrible: you need surgery. 

Warning: Issues seldom heal themselves without intervention, ignoring or avoiding the issue often amplifies it.


Finally, this issue should feed your ongoing risk management process. What steps can you take to avoid this issue from happening in the future?

Are you ready to be a PM Believer?

You knew that you were going to have challenges along the way, but you’ve got this. The issues are here, but by methodically responding to issues, you can get yourself back on track.

How have you applied project management for your personal success? Tell me about it at and make sure to join my email list to have updates delivered to your inbox weekly.

Make sure to help your friends achieve their goals by sharing this post on your social network and by following me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

Want to know more about how I changed my life with project management? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.

About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my personal transformation and weight loss story. After achieving success with that goal, Operation Melt has evolved into a platform to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My vision is to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

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Disclaimer: The Operation Melt website and blog does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information provided on this website is intended for general consumer understanding and entertainment only. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. As health and nutrition research continuously evolves, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on this website.

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